We’re changing the narrative around cold cases and New Jersey murders through collective impact—join us!

We believe the more resources we can provide to digital volunteers and citizen solvers mean more “citizen detective” communities.

New Jersey Murders

There are several publicly available resources that share the number of murders in New Jersey by year within crime reports filled with statistics, including those provided by local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies, as well as Project: Cold Case and the Murder Accountability Project. For example, the Uniform Crime Reports are released every year by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which are often filled with interesting statistics regarding the sorts of crimes committed with their respective crime rates in every state.

Another valuable resource is Project: Cold Case who, in partnership with the Murder Accountability Project, has created a webpage that shows the number of unsolved homicides in each state along with their respective homicide clearance rate. According to this page, from 1980 to 2019 there were approximately 21,224 murders in New Jersey alone. Surprisingly, around 14,678 of those murders have been solved through the years, leaving the state with around 6,546 unsolved murders in New Jersey.

Among many of the cases listed on various law enforcement websites and other public databases or lists are some of the many unsolved murders in northern New Jersey, including the 1992 murder of Renae McLoed, the 2013 murder of Chrismely Hidalgo, the 2014 murder of Jermaine Gamble, and the 1990 murder of Maria Acevedo, among many others. Others on these lists which are frequently included are the various unsolved central New Jersey murders, including the 1977 murder of George Drumm, the 2016 murder of Norman Mosely, the 1994 murder of Jennifer Persia, and the 1994 murder of Joseph Tomasino II, along with several others. Lastly, a couple of the unsolved murders in Trenton, New Jersey, which can also be found within different databases or on various law enforcement websites include the the 2013 murder of Cornelius Boakai and the 2012 murder of Joshua Moore, in addition to a couple of unsolved murders in Mercer County, New Jersey, which include the the 1984 murder of Donna Macho and the 2014 murder of Joyce Vanderhoff.

Unsolved New Jersey Murders

Based on the unsolved homicide statistics webpage on Project: Cold Case’s website, there are currently around 6,546 New Jersey cold cases, a much smaller number than the state had previously, owing to law enforcement efforts and improvements in DNA technology. Many local, county, and state law enforcement websites as well as Project: Cold Case’s unsolved homicide database include profiles of unsolved murders in New Jersey.

The 1992 murder of Renae McLoed, the 2013 murder of Chrismely Hidalgo, the 2014 murder of Jermaine Gamble, and the 1990 murder of Maria Acevedo are just a few examples of the many northern New Jersey unsolved murders that you can find listed within the websites of several law enforcement agencies. Additionally, you can find a few unsolved murders Trenton, New Jersey, on these websites and within several cold case lists, including the 2013 murder of Cornelius Boakai and the 2012 murder of Joshua Moore. Lastly, east New Jersey unsolved murders are also included within the various databases or lists, including the 1996 murder of Smita Amin Patel, the 1996 murder of Hae Sook Lee, the 1997 murder of Sara Lepkofker, the 2006 murder of Patricia DaSilva, and the 2001 murder of Michelle Howard, among many others.

Consider this

More than 200,000 unsolved cases have gone cold since 1980, and murder clearance rates continue to drop. With equity for BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and other underserved victims not prioritized in the true crime community—together we can do better.

Famous New Jersey Murders

Even if you are not from or living in New Jersey, you may recognize at least one of the most famous New Jersey murders, if not more. Odds are you’ll see a couple of names on the list of all murders in New Jersey or list of murders in Jersey that at least seem familiar. Some of these names may include some of the most notorious New Jersey criminals, serial killers, or even victims. Some of the most well-known or infamous New Jersey murders that are most often found on the list of New Jersey murders include the 1976 murder of Cynthia Leeds, the 2007 murder of Lockey Mitten, the 2010 murder of Diane Mary Zaleski, the 1977 murder of Sigrid Stevenson, and the 2001 murder of Michelle Howard, among many others.

Homicide Rate in New Jersey

As per the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s 2019 Uniform Crime Report, the violent crime rate in New Jersey was about 206.9 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2019. In summary, violent crime in New Jersey in 2019 affected roughly 207 individuals per 100,000 inhabitants, including assault, rape, burglary, and homicide. In 2019, the homicide rate in New Jersey was at 2.9 per 100,000 inhabitants, per the dataset. As a result, approximately 2-3 per 100,000 residents of the state were killed in New Jersey in 2019.

According to the latest census, Trenton, New Jersey’s state capital, has a population of only around 82,000 people, substantially fewer than the state’s major cities such as Jersey City and Newark. Compare this to the Trenton, New Jersey, murders rate, which was 19.1 per 100,000 people in 2018, and the violent crime rate in Trenton, New Jersey, which was 1161.75 per 100,000 people that same year. The homicide rate in Trenton, New Jersey, continues to increase each year, despite the fact that we have no means of knowing how many murders in New Jersey 2021 or how many murders in Trenton, New Jersey, 2021.

Mercer County Murders

Based on the most recent census, Mercer County, New Jersey, boasts a population of more than 365,000 residents. However, according to FBI Uniform Crime Reports from prior years, Mercer County has had extremely few homicides, and their crime patterns reflect this. Once authorities are able to acquire sufficient Mercer County murders evidence in certain homicide cases, they are finally able to charge their suspected perpetrator with the crime, before sending them to Mercer County murders trial. The extent and features of the trial are totally dependent on the crime itself as well as the evidence provided in Mercer County homicide trials. Some of the most common items of evidence that are included in homicide trials include DNA evidence, such as blood, saliva, and skin cells, and digital evidence such as cell phone pings. Similar to the rest of the country, Mercer County murders crime scene photos are the most common example of evidence shown to the jurors during a homicide trial. Crime scene photos are usually graphic in nature, but are used in order to show the jury every aspect of the crime.

Trenton, New Jersey Murders

Trenton, New Jersey, murders tend to be significantly less common than murders in many other New Jersey cities due to its relatively small size, compared to Newark and Jersey City. Numerous murders in Trenton, New Jersey, of various ages, have been solved or have been resolved, yet law enforcement continues their investigations into the remaining unresolved crimes. As you may expect, the Trenton murders discussion will continue on social media sites such as Reddit, Facebook, and Websleuths, where individuals often gather to share their opinions, theories, and other information about these cases. Occasionally, these discussions focus on Trenton murders pictures, Trenton murders crime scene photos, and Trenton, New Jersey, murders autopsy photos, which are typically not publicly disclosed even when an investigation comes to an end.

DNA technology has helped solve hundreds, if not thousands, of decades-old cold cases in recent years, and New Jersey is no exception. Nancy Noga’s murder in 1999, Michael Conway’s murder in 2011, Daniel Graves’s murder in 2013, and Quiana Dees’s murder in 1992 are just a few of the many cases where Trenton murders DNA, as well as DNA from crimes in other parts of New Jersey, has been used to solve or introduce new information or evidence to cold cases.

New Jersey Serial Killers

If you would like to look into some New Jersey killers, more specifically New Jersey serial killers, you can find detailed information within various lists that describes the crimes that they had committed. Different types of serial killer lists than those from the state frequently include list of serial killers in New Jersey as well as list of New Jersey serial killers. The following include a few of the most notorious New Jersey serial killers who are regularly featured on various lists: Clarence Hill, also known as “The Duck Island Killer,” who murdered 3 couples (6 total) from 1938-1940; Richard Francis Cottingham, also known as “The Torso Killer,” who murdered at least 6 women from 1977-1980; and Charles Edmund Cullen, a nurse, who is believed to have killed between 29 and 45 patients from 1984-2003 in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Crimes in New Jersey

Multiple local, state, and federal law enforcement and investigation organizations provide great resources on their websites which you can visit to learn more about the various types and frequencies of crime in New Jersey, often including annual crime reports. These annual reports, for example, the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Report, often include the various types of crimes and their respective crime rates and statistics. The FBI includes the same information in their reports for many cities and counties in every state in the United States, including a report dedicated to crime in New Jersey.

Unfortunately, with the current volume of New Jersey homicide and true crime stories in New Jersey, it seems unlikely that every single case will be solved in the next few years, but it is absolutely possible that they will be solved eventually. From 1980 to 2019, there were around 21,224 murders in New Jersey, based on Project: Cold Case’s unsolved homicide statistics page. Roughly 14,678 of those killings were solved or received some sort of closure as time passed, leaving around 6,546 murders unsolved in New Jersey alone today. Regardless, New Jersey’s various law enforcement organizations will never give up their investigations into these crimes by utilizing all of the resources at their disposal in order to solve all of New Jersey’s true crimes.

Citizen Detective Guide Cover

Get Your Free Step-By-Step Citizen Detective Guide